A white novelist, looking for a story in the outback, is kidnapped by an Afghan slaver, betrothed to a white jungle-man, and menaced by a jealous half-caste rival, a hostile witch-doctor, his crazed-killer son, and opium smugglers!
This was legendary Australian-based film maker Charles Chauvel's attempt to break the international market. It stars Dennis Hoey (Inspector Lestrade in the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies.)
It also features Kenneth Brampton - director and star of the 1920 Version of Robbery Under Arms http://www.archive.org/details/Robbery_Under_Arms
January 29, 2011 Subject:
So bad it's good!
I can assure all readers that what you see in this film relating to Aboriginal traditional dance, language and cultural practice is not real! Even the score, with its constant use of pounding drums, is false - very few Aboriginal communities use membranophones. Most of the stereotypes are derived from those used in Hollywood films of the time.
The dance routines look more modelled on Ziegfeld Follies (or Glee!) than on the real thing. They are all dancing in straight lines moving in opposite directions facing the camera, just like on a stage musical. The language used is complete goo-goo ga ga. The film screams stereotypes, and is loaded up with extras in an attempt to broaden the appeal especially to a US audience.
The notion of a white guy out-savaging the savages is a trope that has been used many times in Hollywood - Man Called Horse, Dances With Wolves, etc. Where would these primitive folk be without us super-intelligent whiteys to come along and hold their hand.
This film is so awful it would be highly amusing, were it not insulting to most of the world's population!
December 20, 2008 Subject:
Mumbo Jumbo and Entertaining Too
Some terrific aboriginal dancing and costuming as well. A decent screenplay for the time and as the reviewer before noted an unexpected curve in the subplot, which made it that much more enjoyable.
I'm starting to think that our leaders should take up singing to get more out of their followers. George Bush singing? Never mind.
December 20, 2008 Subject:
a good one
This is a fun movie. By US standards of the time pretty slow moving, but you will never look at Inspector LeStrade the same after seeing it. (I watched an old Sherlock Holmes movie right after this one and I kept seeing the inspector without a shirt on.)
Reviewer:slugs and urchins -
December 17, 2008 Subject:
Lord Greystoke Down Under
The main plot of the film is typical but the sub-plot is surprising.
There's a lot of noble savages and black magic, broiled snakes and things white girls won't eat.
In spite of the sensationalism I found this to be entertaining and the aboriginal segments are very good. I wonder if they're accurate but I suspect they are. The aboriginals use pretty good English but the dances are probably real.
It's a reverse Walkabout that has the sentiment of the period but it's better than most from that time and worth watching, plus an unexpected bonus.
Margot Rhys...Beatrice Lynn
Dennis Hoey...Mara the White Chief
Ashton Jarry...The Mounted Policeman - posing as Akbar Jhan the White Slaver
Marcelle Marnay...Sondra the Half-Caste
Kenneth Brampton...Trask the Opium Smuggler
Victor Fitzherbert...John Hemmingway, publisher
E. Gilbert Howell...Vitchi the Witch Doctor (as E. G. Howell)
P. Dwyer...Bloom, a prospector
Jessica Malone...Hemmingway's Secretary
Lindley Evans....Original Music
Frank Coffey....film editor
James Coleman....set decorator
Frank Coffey....assistant director
Ann Wynn....assistant director
Denis Box....sound recordist
George Malcolm....special effects
Mona Donaldson....assistant editor
Richard White....dance director